Patna, Jul 7: The Indian Railways have decided to accept madrassa (Islamic seminary) degrees as valid for its job requirement, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said here on Sunday.
"Now students of madrassas, like any educational institution, will be able apply for jobs in the railways," Lalu Prasad told IANS by phone.
"All the necessary official formalities in this regard will be finalised soon by the railways," Lalu Prasad said.
The move is seen as part of Lalu Prasad's political strategy ahead of the parliamentary elections to woo Muslim voters.
Early this year, the minister promised to increase the percentage of Muslim employees in the railways.
But a latest report of a review meeting of the group of secretaries of central government last month found the railways were still lagging in recruitment of Muslims.
Last year acting on the Rajinder Sachar Committee recommendations, the government issued directives to all ministries to improve participation of minorities in government jobs.
Till February 2008, of the 67 departments and ministries under the central government, the railways had nearly three percent Muslim employees, which is well below the average five percent mark.